sweet Colonia

Now that we’re almost leaving Argentina, we are very busy finishing our to-do-list. One of the items on it was visiting Colonia del Sacramento, in Uruguay. It is across the river from Buenos Aires, it only takes about an hour by boat, so an easy journey to a lovely, old, romantic little town. Like our first experience with Uruguay, we were enchanted by the sweetness of the people, the respect for nature and culture and the easy pace. And the view on the river, from both sides of the old town, is stunning, especially at sunset.
We had a lucky shot with our hotel, Colonia Suite, which we picked from TripAdvisor, and it was the perfect choice. Colonia Suite is a bed-and-breakfast with three rooms in a lovely house, where we had the big garden room, with our own balcony with stairs to the beautiful garden. The owner, Fred, was the sweetest man, who made us feel really welcome, and prepared a big breakfast for us every morning. He also arranged a wonderful dinner in Energais, a private restaurant in town, where we had drinks before dinner in the garden under the stars, between giant cactuses (which we incidentally had been admiring during the day) and a view on the river and Buenos Aires.

good bye BA, part 3: El Arevalito

When I was planning my trip to Buenos Aires, a lot of people warned me that you really have to be a passionate meat lover because everybody was supposed to be eating meat night and day. Not true! Maybe as a reaction to all the meat, there are a lot of restaurants that excel in vegetarian and/or organic food. So you can choose wether you want to eat meat or be a vegetarian, even for a day.
One of my favourites is El Arevalito. The owner of the restaurant used to live in Amsterdam in the early seventies, where she ran a restaurant in a squat, called Kosmos. She’s a respectable lady now, but she has a free spirit, and her little restaurant breathes her energy and colorfulness. Plus, she and her team of cooks make the loveliest dishes. The menu changes twice a day, for lunch and dinner, so you can be absolutely certain that everything is fresh. A pick: stir fried organic rice with vegetables, toast with caramelized sweet onion with a fried egg and cheese on top, fresh salad with wafer thin sliced radishes, avocado and cucumber, spinach pie. And that was only for lunch.

good Bye, part 2

One thing that I'm really going to miss is the beautiful park in Palermo, also known as Bosque de Palermo. A beautifully landscaped big park, with a enormous rose garden that seems to be in bloom always. Especially Saturdays afternoons are good, when everybody is there to have a good time, skate, ride a bike or a horse cart, or just to sit and see the sun setting and the leaves turning. A bit like Central Park.

good bye, part 1

I can't believe that we're almost leaving Buenos Aires, to go back to our beloved Amsterdam. (absence makes the heart grow fonder) And I still have so much to tell! I'll try to keep it short, here's one of the little pearls in BA, the cemetery of Recoleta, where the rich families of the past and the present are put to rest, so to say. Beautiful, touching and even romantic.

get you paintbrush

Every six months Maaike Koorman and I develop six color forecasts for Kleurinspiratie, a website made by Sanoma. Sanoma publishes some of the best read interior magazines in the Netherlands, like VT Wonen, 101 Woonideeën, Eigen Huis & Interieur and Ariadne At Home.

On the website you can find ideas and tips for paint and painting, you can upload an image of your own house to see if a color would work for you, and you can get new inspiration for colors and see how new combinations of colors can create a totally different mood. On Kleurinspiratie you can read how it works. It's in Dutch, but if you're interested in a translation in English, send me a message.

For the summer we made these six forecasts: Berlin Blues, Ceylon City, Pink Cyclamen, Oriental Industries, Cupcake City and Dusty Boulevard. I'm really happy with these new moods. I hope someday soon people in the Netherlands will overcome their fear to use color, because I can see where I am at the moment, Buenos Aires, that it works just great. More of that later...

And it's also good to see that you can still work together even if you are both on a different part of the world, thanks to Skype.

be brave

Buenos Aires has a lot of creative people running around, working a lot, and making a whole bunch of beautiful stuff. I love the way they present themselves to the world. Either they open up their own shop, or they join hands and show their wares together. So you can find a lot of unique pieces and unique shops here. Catalogue does more, it not only provides a space for Argentinas best individual designers, it also shows their best pieces in an inspiring fashion magazine. I couldn't find a website, but you can find the shop, where they also sell the magazine, at Honduras, around the corner from Carranza.

for the love of lavender

I'm addicted to the scent of lavender, so I'm unconsciously always drawn into shops that sell lavender soap, lavender bath salts, lavender satchels, dried lavender, what ever from the lavender is presented in. Like Epoca Bella, in the street that I live in now. They sell all sorts of scented things, all in beautifully wrapped and presented. Next to a big bottle of lavender bath salts, I also found some other nice, handmade gifts (that I can't show now, without spoiling the suprise). And some inspiration, like the built in cabinet made from old wood, and a lovely old display made of wood and glass. If I ever open up my own shop, I would like one of those. Plus the old fashioned till.


I've found a new place that will be given a high number in my list of Favourite Places in the World: La Pedrera, in beautiful Uruguay.

When I was a child, we used to spend almost all our holidays in La Guimorais in France, and I still dream about that about once a week. And now I've found a place similar to it, on the other side of the world. And, like in my childhood, we've found a place where you can sleep in the dunes, so you can hear the sea in your dreams as well. Only this time no cold water showers and little tents.

In Pueblo Barrancas, you can choose for Glamping, beautiful, well furnished big tents or, like we did, big wooden cabins on stilts. Pueblo Barrancas has eco-friendlyness high on their priority list, they make sure the stunning dunes and nature are reserved. I'm all for that, especially if I can sleep 20 meters from the sea, and I'm welcomed by all those wonderful people that work here. We loved the place and the village, and the whole country so much, it needs further investigation!

and everywhere!

I’m also really proud to tell you that our house will be featured in Holly Beckers first interior book. Holly Becker is talented founder and editor of the blog Decor8, a inspiring blog on interior decorating, that is read by at least 35000 readers, a day (!). It will be published by Jacqui Small in London and Chronicle Books in the US, and will be officially launched April 13, at Liberty in London. I’ve received some spreads of the book. Our kitchen is shown on the little image. I don’t know how much of our house will be shown in the book. But the images Debi Treloar took of it, as you can see, are really beautiful. I was very much honored to be asked, and really enjoyed seeing two talented people like Holly and Debi at work. And if my design is in a book that is described as such: 'Clever, creative and quirky advice from the world’s best designers and architects; a gorgeous source of essential expert guidance, featuring both quick fixes for small budgets and indulgent ideas for more ambitious projects."

I’m really very proud indeed, even if only the kitchen would be featured.

my house in Sweden

Well. I’m very proud. Our house, that I designed myself (with some help of SoapAteliers), is on the cover of a Swedisch magazine, Rum (or Nya Rum, can’t figure it out completely)! The images were taken a few years ago by Paul Barbera, and were featured in the Dutch edition of Glamour Magazine. The images have been circling around on the internet quite a lot, and now they’re here in Sweden. Because I’m in Argentina, I can’t go and buy the magazine myself. Luckily I found a Swedisch blog, Finikanten, that showed some of the pages on her site. Thank you, Anaewa!
And wait! There’s more…

what's in your bag?

You know the feeling: with interesting people you pass on the street, you wonder who they are and what their life is like. And try to memorise what they’re wearing, how they behave. Barbara Iweins, an art director, who divides her time between living and working in Amsterdam and Brussels, has taken this habit that some of us have, a nice step further on her blog Au Coin de ma Rue (around the corner of my house).
She takes pictures of those inspiring, surprising and interesting people. That might remind you of the Satorialist, but she does more than just see and report. First she made a lovely memory game of the pictures she took, that was published about a year ago. And now she’s not only taking pictures of the persons, but also of the stuff they tag along with them, and the things they have in their bags, and have them tell a bit about it. Like most of us are dying to do. (I also secretly think it’s an art in itself to find all these wonderful people).

in the meantime

The house that I have been working on last year is finished! On the first floor the changes are the most dramatic, something like 30 m2 were added, so the kitchen is now very light, big and bright. My brother sent me some images, so I can give you a quick view. It has been a real co-production, my sister-in-law did a lot of research and had a lot of great ideas herself (it is her and my brother's house). My friend and architect Jasper Westebring, who also works at SoapAteliers, did a lot of the drawings, and of course gave a lot of good, creative and technical advise. My loyal contractor Cor from Tools did the building, and ever clever Douglas van Vugt made the beautiful walnut doors in the kitchen. The small images show the house before the renovation.

sweet tea

I mentioned this shop in the post before this one, but it was so nice, it deserves a post of it’s own. What started as only a cheese shop, with a fine selection of quality cheeses, El Baztán is now a good choice for tea and sweet treats. Lovely décor, really delicious fruity cupcake and good strong tea. It has a little terrace in front, which is nice, as it is in one of the few quiet streets in San Telmo, traffic wise.

my 'best of San Telmo'

Well, we have left San Telmo and moved (uptown, so to say) to Palermo Hollywood. A lot to discover, and of course you’ll get a long report. But now that we’ve left San Telmo, I can remember better wich things and places I loved best there, aside from the addresses I already mentioned. Sunday mornings were my favourite.
If you start reasonably early, you’ll find the streets still empty and calm, so you’ll have the time to discover in a gentle pace. Good to walk the big round, and if you reach the end of your round, (if you start from the side of AV. San Juan, that is) the streets are bustling with people, couples dancing the tango, finally!, musicians playing the music to go with it, and shops open that are closed on weekdays. And the street markets are at it’s best, with beautiful lace table cloths, old earrings, flowery tea cups and plates, stuff you would hope to find in your grandmothers’ attic.
My favourite stall was in a little doorway at the beginning of Defensa, near Av. San Juan. I bought some lovely old lace and velvet flower corsages there. If you are more interested in stuff from the now, not to worry, they’re opened as well. I liked Vicky Otero’s designs, and fortunatly there was a sale going on. A few blocks down there was a nice tea-cheese-shop, El Baztán, nice to have a quiet cup of tea and to get away from the crowds. Origen was also a favourite, but I mostly went there to work (1 day a week), Origen, because it was close by, the food was fresh and healthy(-ish), and it has big terrace in front. Around the corner from Origen, I finally found a good massage place, if you’re ever in San Telmo, go to Solemia System at Carlos Calvo 606, and ask for Eva.

restaurant Caseros

Quite close to where we live at the moment, there's a lovely restaurant, called Caseros. Especially nice to go there for lunch, because the interior is nice and clean, and the food they serve fits the atmosphere: nice and light, with lovely grilled vegetables, salads, marinated salmon and shrimps. I also enjoyed the grilled Provolone. Go here if you happen to be in San Telmo, Buenos Aires, and you're looking for a nice alternative for the grill restaurants (who are also mostly very good, by the way).

my big dream...

One of the (many) reasons for this sabbatical-holiday is to find out what exactly I'll be shaping my company in. I'm getting closer and closer to the answer. Being in Buenos Aires helps a lot with getting new ideas for interior design, color schemes, design and living happily in general. But The Selby, one of my favorite websites, helped me along a bit more. I know now that I don't have to move to the country have a green dream come true. Annie Novak, founder of Eagle Street Rooftop Farm shows the way. A lovely green haven, with a view to a beautiful city, and a wonderful shop to go with it, also one of my big dreams. I want that as well! And I even know who can build the perfect roof top garden for me: De Dakdokters, an Amsterdam-based company that's specialized in green roof top gardens. Getting closer and closer to my (and the rest of my family's) big dream.

San Telmo, my new neighborhood

So... we're in Buenos Aires. All the stories I heard about this city are true: alive, vibrant, inspiring. I'm still in the middle of exploring our new neighborhood, San Telmo, where will be living for one months. Because we have two small children, it probably takes a bit longer before we have seen everything. But because we walk in a slow pace, we won't miss a thing! San Telmo is divided in two parts by a big high way. We live in the more quiet part, in an amazing house (more about which later). Actually, we're surrounded by beautiful architecture, old and new. Run down or rebuilt. Near us is a small park, Parcue Lezama, some colorful shops, and two fantastic restaurants. Hierbabuena is good for lunch, with or without children, because they have great salads an the most delicious fresh raspberryjuice I have ever tasted. Nicely decorated with sparkling green tiles. A few doors down is Caseros, a sparsely decorated restaurant, very stylish and chic. We had a beautiful lunch there with family and friends, and we'll go there for dinner tonight. More about that later.

colorful dreams

In Tanti, near Cordoba, we rented a beautiful house, with a giant garden, close to the river. It's owners are Dutch, so you get an interesting mix of Argentinian architecture and Dutch classic furniture, Argentinian nature and Dutch landscaping. With a very beautiful and calming result. There was one room in the house that was absolutely my favorite. It was semi-separate from the house, and the stairs to it already gave me a good feeling. Fresh, tangy but still soft yellow-green walls combined with green tiles, and on top of the stairs a nice promise for the room. It was painted in a lovely soft pink-orange tint, walls and ceilings. On the bed a nice, handmade, quilt, a lappendeken we call it in Holland. Nice idea for boring winter evenings (next year). Even the closets gave a new inspiration: a small little round metal screen to let in some fresh air. The flowery curtains were a bit faded, but that only adds to the romantic atmosphere.

inspiration from Carlos Paz

Before I report on the wonderful things that I'm seeing in Buenos Aires, where we are now, I want to show you the beauty of Tanti, Carlos Paz and other small towns and villages that we visited near Cordoba, Argentina. Carlos Paz is a strange little town. At first glance not beautiful at all. But if you take a closer look, fascinating. Beautiful houses next to the ugliest buildings you can imagine. Trees and flowers everywhere. Amazingly beautiful rivers and streams, where everybody gathers on a free afternoon or to spend a sunday. And everybody cleans up after they leave. And even the pavements, or a hand painted sign on a car, are a joy for the eye.